This case is build upon a case example. The name of case organization has altered to avoid legal problems. The case will focus on how to identify various architectures and how Enterprise Architecture toolkits influenced the Coherency Management Maturity (CMM).
The case organization is build upon a service company that mainly provides other companies with cleaning services and security e.g., night guards and alarms to keep burglars out.
The service organization has had many forms since it was founded in the end of the 19th century. The organization has had various forms of services and divisions which have been sold or in other ways shutdown when the organization has discovered that they no longer profitable for the company operate. A few years ago the organization understood that it might be better to spin off divisions to become independent instead of selling them. This decision was backed by the stockholders and the top management.
This lead to that the organization had to go through the basic steps of articulating how their processes worked and how IT assisted the processes. For this the company hired an external consultancy which used an Enterprise Architecture toolkit.
For this the consultants understood became aware of that a lot of the processes in the organization weren’t build on assumptions which worked well while the organization was in the early phases in its life cycle and within the early phases of the marked maturity cycle.
The Outcome of the Report
The consultants articulated their findings in the final report to the management in the organization. The report came to the conclusion that it would be most efficient if the company went through a Business Process Re-Engineering effort. That meant that each of the high impact processes had to be identified and all subprocesses had to be aligned to them. Each of the processes had to be enabled by IT so as many of the processes could be automated and the employees could use their time and energy to work with more profitable (π) processes or projects. That meant that the structure of the organization had to be altered as well and eventually also the tasks the people of the organization had to take care of.
The first EA project was commissioned to the Chief Information Officer who was in charge of IT maintenance and IT development in the organization. Besides that then the CIO had the overall responsibility for the IT Organization.
The IT organization started with a consolidation of the fragmented systems that supported the cleaning division and the security division. The IT department came to the obvious conclusion that the security division and the cleaning division had very different processes and vary different ways to handle various was of 1) administration, 2) deployment and 3) Contract negotiation. Besides that the organization had a lot of different ways to communicate. The cleaning division had regional and local offices where the employees gathered and where coordinated where the security department had two offices located in the business areas and most of the information was communicated by telephone to the teams who handled the various clients.
The CIO and the IT department came to conclusion that the organization needed to be reformed and yet the IT systems had to be designed on the same platform (ERP system) but the processes of each of the divisions had to be configured for the particular usage.
The CIO presented his proposal to the board directors and the Chief Executive Officer. The CEO supported the idea and the project was officially initiated by the CEO and the top management. The top management wanted quick victories to show the stockholders that they did their duty to the organization and performed above expectations.
The processes started with the various IT systems where analyzed and all data was backed up and moved to a prototype area which would be used to convert the data so the data could be inserted into the new information systems. The prototype systems proved to be sufficient for the first tests of the ERP systems. The first tests proved to be satisfying. However the users who where invited to take place while the systems had to be designed where of many different user levels and none of them could easily picture the deployment of the new processes and how to interact with the new information system.
Thereto it proved that the language used in the user interface was too complex and often it didn’t cover what the users thought they should insert into the interface. This lead to that the final time plan for the project had to be postponed until the prototype proved to be successful. The issues with the user interface lead to a redesign so the interface was designed to be different with a different language for the two major divisions (cleaning and security).
The second prototype proved to be more understandable for the users and the processes was in some way represented as the employees and middle managers understood them. However the employees and the managers were of the opinion that the system could be better if the workflow of the ERP system worked with the various under accounts and the workflow of the subprocesses and task descriptions could be defined better.
The prototype period became a fundamental architecture for the organization since the members of the organization and the IT department made use of tools to articulate the processes, structure and IT used in the organization.
The Deployment of IT and Processes
After the modifications of the standard ‘off the shelves’ system so it supported the underlying architecture the system was rapidly deployed in the organization. This meant that the organization had to apply training for the employees and managers of the organization. This meant that the new systems had to go through an education period and extensive testing. The knowledge about the system was originally implicit in the persons. These persons spread the knowledge to other persons by showing, talking and train them. The persons who started to test and work the system articulate then it was articulated into books, reports and manuals which was read and professionalized by other testers and persons who worked with the system in practice out in the two primary divisions. The persons who worked was about to work with the system read the manuals and reports etc. which gained knowledge from the reports and manuals and diffused the knowledge to other persons to the organization.
Besides the knowledge process in the organization then the company had to organize its processes in a new way so the processes all in all where designed smarter and resulted in better agility and more resources to gain competitive advantage. The organization of processes led to a slightly decrease in productivity in the first two quarters after day zero. This led to some criticism from the press which influenced the stock price and by that the equity of the company. The top management chose to stand firm on the project since they realized that the organization had invested heavily in the project and therefore there would be “no going back” especially after the processes had been aligned with the new information systems. Some other organizations had tried similar projects but they had not realized the great potential of recycle the components of the system to enhance the spin off organizations.
The first EA / business IT – alignment project led to that the organization had their first approach to how improve the processes and how to work smarter it also led to that the organization became aware of their architecture. The project led to the organization reached its foundation architecture (the basic step of maturity). The project led to the management and stockholders understood the need to become more mature to go for the extended architecture where the business managers make use of EA tools to redesign their business.